You were made to
find hope in Jesus.
Small Group Questions – Week 1
- Since the time of His resurrection, people of have been claiming to find hope in Jesus. So perhaps a good place to start is with a definition. What is hope? Even outside of a “biblical” context, what does the word mean?
Read Luke 9.10-17
10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, 11 but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”
13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14 (About five thousand men were there.)
But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.”15 The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. 16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
- For a short passage, there is a lot happening here all at once. Let’s start by looking at this from the perspective of the people in the crowd. Why have they come? What are they looking for? What do they need?
- In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Blessed are you who are hungry for you will be satisfied. In what ways do you see this promise being fulfilled in this story? In what ways do you see this promise being fulfilled in your life?
Before thinking about this from the disciples’ perspective, read the few verses on either side of this story. First, Luke 9.7-9
7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, 8 others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. 9 But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.
And Luke 9.18-20
18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”
19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”
20 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”
- In Luke, the story of the loaves and fish is sandwiched in between these two passages that are asking a pretty big question – Who is this Jesus? Peter gets the answer right when he says he’s the Messiah, but what does that mean? Put yourself in the disciple’s place. This revelation changes everything, but why?
- In many ways, Jesus was not the Messiah the disciples were looking for. He’s a provider, a healer, a feast-loving, friend-of-sinners and not a conquering hero.
As you seek after him or try to follow him, what ways has Jesus surprised you? When has Jesus provided hope when there was no hope to be found?
Before we look at this from Jesus’s perspective, read Isaiah 25.6-9.
6 On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
7 On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
8 he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.
9 In that day they will say,
“Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the Lord, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
- As Messiah, Jesus knows this is about much more than feeding hungry people. In what ways does the loaves and fish story point to God’s bigger purpose through Jesus? (Look at Isaiah 25.8.)
- Tim Keller says this: “Biblical hope is life changing certainty about the future…being certain about the future in a way that affects how you live now.” In what ways do you need to experience God’s hope today?
Lastly, take another look at Luke 9.16 and compare it to Luke 22.19 from the Lord’s Supper.
Luke 9.16 – Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people.
Luke 22.19 – And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
- The meal provided by Jesus in Luke 9 points toward the hope he offers through his death and resurrection. The Last Supper, then, points toward the coming feast and celebration of the Messiah’s return. So, what now? How can we/should we live differently because of our hope in God’s future?
*Ideas & questions with reference to
A Meal with Jesus, Ch. 3, by Tim Chester